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William Shatner: Of course there's alien life

Basic math tells you it's a must, says the original Captain Kirk -- the only true unknown is what form alien life takes.

You know he's right.
Strombo/YouTube; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When scientists speak about space and the world out there, it's always worth a listen.

But they're scientists. They have a vested interest in being right. More interesting, perhaps, are the people who seem to have an unalienable instinct for the truths of existence.

William Shatner is surely one of these people. Not merely for his portrayals of Capt. James T. Kirk and the Priceline Negotiator, but for his extraterrestrial nose for truth when he played Denny Crane in "Boston Legal."

Shatner has now offered his definitive view on alien life.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, he offered this: "I don't think there is any doubt there is life in the universe, yes. I don't think there is any question."

But what can possibly deliver such certainty to the Shatner mind? Math, that's what.

"The mathematics involved -- what have they just discovered, 730,000 new planets the other day? -- mathematically it has to be," he said.

Yes, it's hard to imagine that of all the newly discovered worlds out there (NASA recently announced 715 new planets -- and each potentially represents hundreds more), at least one wouldn't have small green people or hieroglyphically nasty-looking 10-armed beings with a twisted sense of humor.

But that's the problem with alien life, isn't it? We keep thinking of it as something that is akin to our own. Yet, as Professor Michio Kaku told Big Think earlier this week: "When we look at aliens in the movies, we're basically projecting our own consciousness."

Shatner seems to agree with the professor. Speaking of what form alien life might take, he said: "Just how it happens we don't know yet, though I'm sure we'll know soon."

But he's declared himself and that's enough. There is alien life. It is out there. It may not be as we know it.

Soon, though, we may know something. That will at least make our own mundane existence more interesting.